What to Look for in a VHF Marine Radio
Whether it is for safety or information, if you spend a significant amount of time on the water, you may need a VHF marine radio. The radio can be a lifesaver in a dangerous situation, and can enable you to make contact with another boat or ship. There are many types of VHF radios. Some are handheld, and others are a permanent part of your vessel. For small boats, it is a good idea to opt for a handheld that has long battery life. If you own a larger boat or a yacht, a VHF radio should be installed alongside your steering equipment.
The VHF marine radio works by allowing you to press a code number and send it in a signal that will be received by other ships in the area. They will be able to see your location. You can make a distress signal, or simply reach out for information. In addition to ships, the VHF radio can enable you to contact harbors and marinas. Most radios have DSC capabilities that will enable you to send signals and indicate your location at the press of a button.
When purchasing a VHF marine radio, look beyond a model that is simply waterproof. You will want to know that the radio is also submersible, meaning that it will continue to work effectively even if it falls into the water. If a radio is said to be waterproof, that might mean that it will function if it receives a few drops of water. Also look for buoyancy. This feature is essential in an emergency because it means that the device will bounce back and float to the surface if it becomes submerged in the water. Look for an hourglass design with rubber traction that allows you to grab onto it easily and to prevent slippage.
Other features that are useful in a VHF radio are sound cancelling. This will eliminate stray noises when it is essential that you are heard. Make sure your radio has a loud volume. Choose a radio that has a callback feature and displays your code in case you lose your connection. This will allow other boats to re-establish the connection with you and find your location. Look for radios that have long battery life and check the batteries regularly. Take along a VHF marine radio with advanced features for greater peace of mind when sailing or fishing.